The Things We See – Carolyn

A glimpse of my life through an account of textile pieces

I made my first piece of patchwork, a hexagon tea cosy, from some Liberty linen samples at the age of 8 and I think this was the start of my passion for textiles and quilts and all things Liberty. For years I have been an inveterate collector and researcher.

The Crazy Patchwork

Sometimes, you find pieces in strange situations; this section of crazy patchwork was uncovered when I was sorting my mother’s house. I knew that she had a lace pillow and made lace but had stopped when I was about five years old. My father had made the lace pillow and covered it with tartan, as befits a Scot, but I had no idea of where the cover, the Crazy patchwork, originated.

I like to think that it might have been a family piece. It dates the early 20th century but the flowery piece in the centre is much older, c.1860s perhaps from a ribbon on somebody’s dance dress?

Log Cabin

In the 1990s I saw this 19th century Manx log cabin on show in an antique shop in Cambridge and after some bargaining got the price down to something that I could afford. Later on that year a friend gave me a bag full of fabrics which toned and I decided to make my own version to have a pair of quilts for our spare bedroom. Do look for the deliberate pattern mistake to show that I am human. Note too, the quilting done by machine which was also an error!

Suffrage Banner

My other piece is a Suffrage Banner which was made to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2018. It serves as a happy reminder of a suffrage play that we put on in Newnham College. The banner is a piece of ultimate recycling as my appliqué letters are stitched on to a recycled 20th quilt which in turn had recycled a 19th century quilt!

Private thoughts, public debates:  A Museum of Cambridge quilt

Read more about a Museum of Cambridge quilt: Accession Number 637.88.